Standard precautions are the minimum infection control safeguards used while caring for all patients, irrespective of their disease condition. They help prevent the spread of common infectious microorganisms to healthcare workers, patients, and visitors in all healthcare settings.
Hand hygiene is the most crucial means to prevent the transmission of disease. Employers are legally required to provide their workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure or contact with pathogens.
Standard precautions vary depending on the area of work. For example, the measures of standard precautions will be different for employees with sitting non-patient-oriented jobs from the nurses and laboratory technicians working with patients. Nevertheless, everyone should observe basic safety precautions to protect themselves and their colleagues. PPE used includes laboratory coats, gowns, masks, face shields, eye protection, and gloves. PPE must depend on risk assessment and the extent of exposure anticipated.
Respiratory hygiene or cough etiquette must be followed. For example, cover the nose and mouth with a tissue during sneezing or coughing, and then perform hand hygiene. Perform routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental and other repeatedly touched surfaces. Prevent exposures and contamination of clothing while handling, transporting, and processing used linens.
Appropriate handling, cleaning, and disinfecting of patient care equipment and devices are also essential. Follow aseptic techniques while administering parenteral medications.
Following universal precautions while handling sputum, feces, sweat, vomit, tears, urine, or nasal secretions is not mandatory. Such body fluids are not considered contaminated unless blood is visible as their transmission of Hepatitis B or HIV is extremely low or non-existent.
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